Advancing Sexual and Reproductive Health and Rights
 
Perspectives on Sexual and Reproductive Health
Volume 44, Number 2, June 2012

STD and HIV Risk Factors Among U.S. Young Adults: Variations by Gender, Race, Ethnicity and Sexual Orientation

By Sanyu A. Mojola, Bethany Everett

CONTEXT: STDs, including HIV, disproportionately affect individuals who have multiple minority identities. Understanding differences in STD risk factors across racial, ethnic and sexual minority groups, as well as genders, is important for tailoring public health interventions. METHODS: Data from Waves 3 (2001-2002) and 4 (2007-2008) of the National Longitudinal Study of Adolescent Health were used to develop population-based estimates of STD and HIV risk factors among 11,045 young adults (mean age, 29 at Wave 4), by gender, race and ethnicity, and sexual orientation (heterosexual, mixed-oriented, gay). Regression analyses were conducted to examine associations between risk factors and young adults‚ characteristics. RESULTS: Overall, sexual-minority women in each racial or ethnic group had a higher prevalence of sexual risk behaviors, including a history of multiple partners, forced sex and incarceration‚ than their heterosexual counterparts. Mixed-oriented women in each racial or ethnic group were more likely than heterosexual white women to have received an STD diagnosis (odds ratios, 1.8‚ 6.4). Black men and sexual-minority men also appeared to be at heightened risk. Gay men in all racial and ethnic groups were significantly more likely than heterosexual white men to report having received an STD diagnosis (2.3‚ 8.3); compared with heterosexual white men, mixed-oriented black men had the highest odds of having received such a diagnosis (15.2). CONCLUSIONS: Taking account of multiple minority identities should be an important part of future research and intervention efforts for STD and HIV prevention.

DOI:10.1363/4412512







 

AUTHOR AFFILIATIONS

Sanyu A. Mojola is assistant professor, Department of Sociology, and faculty affiliate, Institute of Behavioral Science; at the time this article was written, Bethany Everett was a doctoral candidate, Department of Sociology, and graduate research assistant, Institute of Behavioral Science—all at the University of Colorado, Boulder.